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  • Austen Moore

Hurting others only hurts yourself

One of my favourite quotes on this is as follows, "The person who does wrong, does wrong to themselves. The unjust person is unjust to themselves-making themselves evil". - Marcus Aurelius.

The Stoic philosophy that hurting others only hurts yourself is based on the idea that all people are interconnected and that our actions have consequences for ourselves and others. When we hurt others, we are ultimately hurting ourselves because we are damaging our relationships with others and harming our own moral character.

The Stoics believed that we should strive to live in accordance with virtue, which means acting in accordance with nature and reason. This means being kind, compassionate, and just in our dealings with others. When we hurt others, we are acting against our own nature and reason, which ultimately harms ourselves.

The Stoics also believed that we should not be attached to external things, such as wealth, fame, or power. When we are attached to external things, we are more likely to hurt others in order to get what we want. However, when we are not attached to external things, we are more likely to act in a virtuous way, even when it is difficult.

The Stoic philosophy that hurting others only hurts yourself is a powerful reminder that we should treat others with kindness and compassion. When we do so, we are not only helping others, but we are also helping ourselves.

We are all guilty of hurting others, that includes me and sometimes we can hurt people without realising we have done so. A genuine compliment can be received as an insult, helpful advice as criticism and caring as interfering. In NLP we say "The meaning of the message is the response it elicits". It means whatever the receiver feels.

I'm not here to claim I don't make these mistakes, I hurt people with things I say, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes even in the course of coaching. Hearing and facing up to uncomfortable things can feel hurtful, that's why change can be so difficult.

We also face the prospect of dealing with people that we feel have been hurtful or unkind to us and the quote from Marcus at the beginning of this blog is one I often try to think of when someone has be unkind to me. Some of us have what we would call enemies, hopefully most of you don't feel you have an enemy at all, but if you have and you find yourself thinking of revenge or of hurting them, this quote is also a good one to think of, “The best revenge is not to be like your enemy.” Marcus Aurelius.

I hope you've found this blog interesting and hopefully insightful. If it's made you think, question and possibly helped you to see a more positive and constructive outlook, then I'm glad I wrote it, even if it helps just one single individual.


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